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California CUPA Forum - DEH Founding Member - 1996

Certified Unified Program Agency

The Unified Program is the consolidation of six state environmental programs into one program under the authority of a Certified Unified Program Agency. The County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health, Hazardous Materials Division, (HMD) was certified by the California Environmental Protection Agency as the Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) for San Diego County in 1996. The CUPA inspects businesses or facilities that handle or store hazardous materials; generate hazardous waste; generate medical waste; and own or operate underground storage tanks. The CUPA Program is instrumental in accomplishing this goal through education, community and industry outreach, inspections and enforcement.

The primary goal of the Hazardous Materials Division (HMD) is to protect public health and the environment by promoting compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

All inspectors in the CUPA Program are trained Environmental Health Specialists (EHSs) who take part in a continuous education program to ensure consistency and uniformity during inspections.

The CUPA program conducts multi-media inspections that consolidate the six elements of the Unified Program into one inspection. The Businesses inspected are in one or more of the following categories:

These inspections determine compliance with the California Health and Safety Code (HSC) Chapters 6.5, 6.67, 6.7 and 6.95; HSC Division 104, Part 14, Medical Waste Management Act; Titles 19, 22 and 23 of the California Code of Regulations, and the San Diego County Code of Regulatory Ordinances, Title 6, Division 8, Chapters 9, 10, 11 and 12.

Inspections of sites with Hazardous Materials, Hazardous Waste, Petroleum Stored Above Ground and/or Underground Storage of hazardous Substances in Tanks:
This section is intended to provide information regarding inspections conducted by this Department at sites that have hazardous materials, hazardous waste and/or underground storage tanks (USTs). It is for information purposes only, and is designed to briefly explain the main issues a typical inspection will address when we visit your facility.

Compliance inspections are conducted on a routine basis and focus on six general areas:

1. Site Inspection: The Environmental Health Specialist (EHS) will do a walk-through of the facility and will observe buildings, equipment, storage areas and work areas. The purpose of the walk-through is to:

  • Observe hazardous materials and waste management, including containment, storage, labeling, treatment, and waste disposal procedures.
  • Observe the operation and management of underground storage tanks.
  • Review emergency equipment; spill control, and reporting procedures.
  • Review the quantities of hazardous materials that are handled or stored onsite in discloseable quantities.
  • Review the current Unified Program Facility Permit.

2. Hazardous Materials Business Plan or Contingency Plan: Review information provided on the plan and ensure that hazardous materials inventory, facility site maps, emergency contacts, emergency response procedures, emergency equipment and employee training plan are adequate and up to date.

3. Employee Training Program Documentation: Review of the written records for the hazardous materials training program, as described on your Hazardous Materials Business Plan or Contingency Plan.

4. Disposal Documentation for hazardous wastes generated onsite: Review of uniform hazardous waste manifests, bills of lading and receipts documenting proper disposal of hazardous wastes generated at your facility.

5. Review of above ground petroleum storage and Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan.

6. Underground Storage Tank (UST) monitoring records to include at a minimum:

  • Records of testing, certifications and maintenance performed on the leak detection equipment and UST system
  • Monitoring Plan, Emergency Response Plan, and Monitoring Plot Plan
  • Certification of Financial Responsibility
  • Owner/Operator agreement (if applicable)
  • UST Operating Permit

For general questions regarding the management of hazardous materials, hazardous waste, underground storage tanks or medical waste, please contact our Hazardous Materials Duty Desk, at (858) 505-6880. The Duty Specialist is available M-F, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

For specific questions about your permitted facility, please contact your area inspector. The Hazardous Materials Duty Specialist may direct you to the inspector for the area where your business is located.

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